Days after 9-11, a patriotism rally in Oak Lawn turned ugly and an anti-Arab mob marched through the streets toward the Bridgeview mosque.
Almost a full 10 years later, as the president announced that the mastermind behind the 9-11 attacks had been shot to death by U.S. Navy Seals, a celebratory crowd gathered outside the White House. As word spread, fireworks could be heard at homes around the south suburbs.
Meanwhile, the folks at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview found reason to be relieved, even reason to hope.
"After 10 years of sadness, fear and uncertainty, we have been under extreme pressure," said Oussama Jammal, vice president of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, explaining the feelings that have pervaded the American Muslim community in general.
In the days after the terrorist attacks in 2001, angry vandals hurled rocks through the windows of Arab-owned businesses in the south suburbs. Mistrust and apprehension haunted the region's Arab-Americans and Muslims. The FBI investigated activities at the mosque, though no charges were ever brought against the Mosque Foundation.
The 93rd Street mosque in Bridgeview is a house of worship for many Muslims who live throughout the south suburbs. Jammal, a businessman, a member of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and a board member of the Bridgeview Chamber of Commerce, said many local Muslims are relieved Osama bin Laden is gone.
Muslims died by his hand, as did thousands of others. Justice found bin Laden in this world, and Jammal said justice will find him in the next.
"Islam, itself, has been hijacked by those guys (like Bin Laden) and we've been in kind of a ping-pong game here. So, we're glad that it is over with. He is in the hands of the supreme justice, God, and He will decide his fate. We're all going to go from this life, but what matters, what counts is the one that is before God.
"So, as far as we're concerned, we're hoping this is a closing of a dark chapter, and we look forward for a peaceful world."